For immediate release Hazon, the leading American Jewish environmental organization, this week issued a strong response to a new Israeli organization, also called “hazon”, that has published a series of inflammatory billboards attacking gay, lesbian and transgender Israelis, and then also attacked Women of the Wall. Hazon, based in New York, and with staff in five locations in the US, as well as two staffers in Israel, has worked for nearly twenty years to strengthen Jewish life and to work for a more sustainable world for all. Hazon has a legal trademark for the name “Hazon,” and its Israeli lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to the new Israeli “hazon” earlier this week, demanding that the Israeli group immediately cease using the name “Hazon.” Hazon’s CEO, Nigel Savage, said “Hazon works to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community, and a more sustainable world. We’re proud of our work and of our good name. It is frankly distressing to see our name being attached to billboards and pronouncements that so radically stand against all that we have done, and all that we have tried to do, since our founding in 2000.” Aharon Ariel Lavi, Hazon’s senior staffer in Israel and […]
In the last twenty years, more than 100,000 Jewish children, teachers and young adults have participated in the transformative experience of Teva: immersing themselves in the rhythms of the natural world, learning about the Jewish values of stewardship, and developing a deep commitment to tikkun olam. Kedusha-Lives of Sacred Purpose The program integrates the study of ecology and environmental education with Jewish concepts and values through hands-on activities in a cooperative outdoor setting. By using the forest as their classroom, Teva students also develop a greater sense of responsibility, independence, and self-esteem. They leave the program having forged intimate connections with each other and the natural world and with a deeper knowledge of how Judaism can inform our interactions with the rest of creation. Chochma-Wisdom Teva’s curriculum follows a three-part thematic progression of “Awareness,” then “Ecology,” then “Responsibility.” At each step, environmental teaching is specifically tied to Jewish teaching. As part of the Responsibility curriculum, Teva students focus on ways that they, individually and as a class, can make better choices that contribute to creating a sustainable world. All students participate in designing a project to implement throughout the school year. The projects not only help to reduce waste and empower […]
I’m in Israel with our largest ever Israel Ride – 219 participants, plus more than 60 crew and staff members. Six of our riders live in Pittsburgh, two are members of the shul that was attacked, and many more grew up in Pittsburgh or have spent much of their lives there. One person lost one of his closest friends. Two of our riders were married by someone who was shot and had an operation yesterday and is in hospital right now. So – we are a long way away, and it feels very very close. I and all of us send love and condolences to everyone in Pittsburgh and to everyone who is mourning. And, in a different sense, to everyone in the Jewish community and everyone in America who is appalled and shocked that we have reached this point. This morning we stood together overlooking Machtesh Ramon and we sang Eitz Chayim Hi – the words that we read before returning the Torah to the ark on Shabbat morning, the tune that is so beautiful and well-loved. Shuls will be packed next Shabbat morning, across America – shuls should be packed, next Shabbat morning, across America – and I suspect the most intense moment will be […]
For reasons outside of our control, some of our emails are now being blocked by spam filters. This includes not just emails from Hazon overall, but also from individual staffers. We cannot, on our side, remove our emails from your spam. There are however a few easy steps that you can do to help. If you’ve been in touch with a specific person at Hazon who you haven’t heard replies from in a while: We apologize – it wasn’t our fault! Please check your spam filter – an email from them may be there; Please call that person to check in on the status of your conversation. How to check your spam filter – and remove us from it…. If you use a public email service such as Gmail or Yahoo: Check your spam or junk folder for any messages from Hazon that may have mistakenly ended up there. If you find anything, mark it as not spam (see below for details). Once you’ve done this a number of times, your email provider will learn to resume delivering Hazon emails to your regular inbox. If you use an organizational or company email service: Ideally, please ask your IT staff to […]
By Amanda Gluckich – Milk and Honey Farm – Boulder, CO In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Ha’Azinu, we learn that the people of Israel, who have been wandering the desert for forty years after leaving Egypt, are about to enter the Holy Land that has been promised to them by God. Moses, who is not allowed to continue into the Holy Land due to previous transgressions, is preparing to sing a song to the people of Israel. The Torah portion, or parsha, is virtually entirely made up of song verses. Moses’s song speaks of the intergenerational tragedies and triumphs of the people of Israel, and even articulates the future to some degree. Moses sings of the people of Israel’s many struggles to accept one God, and of all of the things that God has done for them throughout the generations. Moses’s song brings everyone together and up to speed to explain why they are currently in the place they are in: about to be metaphorically born into the Land of Israel, promised to them by God. Moses begins: “Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! And let the earth hear the words of my mouth!” (Deut. 32:1). When reading […]
Ryan Kaplan, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta Parshat Chukat “Moses made a copper serpent and mounted it on a standard; and when anyone was bitten by a serpent, they would look at the copper serpent and recover.” Numbers 21:9 As I write this post, I sit in my office in Atlanta with the threat of rain clouds to my left and blueberry waffles, coffee, and a coworker’s copy of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) to my right. Georgia’s summer has been very wet thus far, and the promise of the coming downpour outside my window sets a looming melancholic tone for this week’s cinematic Torah portion: Chukat (Numbers 19:1-22:1). Much happens in the chapters of Chukat. In the interest of brevity: The wandering Israelites are taught in “the ways of the red heifer” (that is to say, they’re told how to purify themselves after coming into contact with a human corpse); Miriam dies and water becomes scarce; Moses and Aaron fall out of G-d’s good graces after striking a rock in search of water instead of speaking to it; Aaron follows Miriam in death and a 30 day period of mourning begins (up from the normal 7 days of Shiva); a […]
Parsha Behar By: Emily Blustein – Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta – Atlanta, GA Rest for the land, rest for the people, all will be provided. This week we are reading Behar which tells us about shmitah and jubilee. Shmitah is during every seventh year, you shall not work the land, and Jubilee which is the 49th year where shmitah is practiced along with setting all slaves free and all land goes back to its original owners. G-d reassures the people that they have nothing to worry about during shmitah as the 6th year of growing will produce more than enough until the 8th years yield is ready. That’s putting a lot of faith in powers other than your own hard work. What did the farmers do during the 7th year? Did they enjoy or lament it? As I have been dabbling in farming, the thought of not being able to grow food for myself and others for a whole year is a bit unsettling. Truly, if everyone practiced this, what would be there to eat? Or were we all on different shmitah schedules? Maybe my neighbor is only in their 5th year when I’m in my 7th and […]
Becky Adelberg, JCC Chicago Parshat Re’eh Editor’s Note: Welcome to D’varim HaMakom: The JOFEE Fellows Blog! This is our inaugural post. Most weeks throughout the year, you’ll be hearing from the JOFEE Fellows: reflections on their experiences, successful programs they’ve planned and implemented, gleanings from the field, and connections to the weekly Torah portion and what they’ve learned from their experiences with place in their host communities for the year. Be sure to check back weekly! PS Interested in being or hosting a JOFEE Fellow? Applications for cohort two are now open for both prospective fellows and prospective host institutions! And now, on to Becky’s post … I’m thrilled for this opportunity to write about one of my favorite events of the year: Shabbat on the Lake. To me, Shabbat on the Lake is more than an event. It is a mindset, a movement, a gathering of all corners of the Jewish community; it’s a tapestry of various affiliations, ways of engaging with Judaism and the possibility of a Jewish community who focuses on things that unite us as opposed to what divides us. Shabbat on the Lake’s inception at JCC Chicago arose six years ago to show young Jewish adults various ways […]
The New Paradigm Spiritual Communities Initiative (NPSCI) is designed to support the development of spiritual communities that use the wisdom and practice of Judaism (chochma), to help people live lives of sacred purpose (kedusha) and inspire people to contribute to a more just and peaceful world (tzedek). The context for this work are covenantal communities (kehillot) where a group of people intentionally enter into a mutual obligatory relationship in which they commit to a common mission and give of their time and psychic energy to support the viability of the group and the material and spiritual needs of the members of the group. Hazon is a founding partner of NPSCI, which recently launched a new website, and was featured today in a cover story in the New York Jewish Week: Make Way For ‘Earthodoxy’ – A new effort to support spiritual communities is fueled by those on the communal fringes. The new website includes short essays on how participants are building spiritual community. And starting April 11th, a weekly blog will feature longer essays, which speak to the more conceptual issues informing new paradigm spiritual communities, and aims to generate creative thinking around the ideas that can inform the creation and building of vibrant spiritual communities.
By Nati Passow 11 months ago, I posted a piece on the Jewish Farm School website about how we were choosing to embrace Shmita as an organization. You can read the entire piece here, but the final paragraph sums up the gist. We are using the Shmita year as an opportunity for fewer programmatic commitments, more organizational reflection, and a focus on building a strong local foundation in Philadelphia. It is our hope that in this year of rest and renewal, we are feeding the soil that will, in turn, feed thoughtful, inspired, and sustainable organizational growth for the next Shmita cycle. What played out over the following 11 months has proven to be incredibly significant as we enter into a new phase of organizational growth, in line with the beginning of the next Shmita cycle. Since 2013, we have been making an organizational pivot, turning our focus to our Urban Sustainability Programs in Philadelphia. We saw the Shmita year as an opportunity to complete this shift, and do so in a way that would create a strong foundation for this next phase of our work. We would not look to grow our programs or our budget, and would instead dedicate time […]
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Missing the 2014 Israel Ride?…Wondering what it would be like to join us on the 2015 Israel Ride? Read below for first hand accounts of day by day riding!
Yesterday the Israel Ride entered the heart of the desert. Participants rode past magnificent desert vistas and ate lunch at Sde Boker, the burial place of David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel. While the Shomrim hiked to a beautiful desert spring in the afternoon, the Chalutzim took a detour to the Egyptian border. All three groups were greeted at the end of the day by one of the most breath-taking sites of the trip, Mitzpe Ramon. After three days of riding, our community is enjoying a restful and rejuvenating Shabbat. Today riders have the option to participate in communal prayer, discussions, hikes and yoga. After lunch there will also be opportunities to learn more about the work of Hazon and the Arava Institute. These organizations encourage sustainability, peace and service in Israel and America. The Arava Institute exists to ensure that the world’s environmental resource challenges are a catalyst for dialogue, cooperation and trust among people. Located in Southern Israel, this specialized academic institute prepares young Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian and international leaders to cooperatively address the region’s environmental needs. Hazon similarly promotes sustainability by creating healthier communities in the Jewish world and beyond. Hazon does so by […]
On our first day of riding we set off just as the sun rose above the Jerusalem skyline. As 165 participants took to their bikes to ride in support of peace and sustainability it was truly a sight to behold. To read more about the day click here!
The word “community” is a central word in Jewish life. We talk about “the Jewish community” a good deal. But the nature of community is complex and evolving. In the Manchester of my childhood it was taken for granted that my parents would likely know the parents of my friends, and that my grandparents would know their grandparents. My grandma died a quarter of a mile from where she was born – having lived nearly 96 years in one square mile of Jewish north Manchester. That world does still exist in some places, but it is shrinking. In its place we have evolving communities: old friends whom I catch up with when I see them; newer friends who live nearby. Virtual “friends,” with all the complexity we know that notion encompasses. I have been thinking about the notion of community in relation to Sukkot – and Sukkahfest – and our Intentional Communities Conference, at Isabella Freedman from November 20 – 23. The sukkah is something we construct with friends and family. Like the mythic barn-raisings of the old West or of the Amish community, it is the very opposite of “virtual” community; it is as tangible as a hammer and […]